Museum of Zoology launches public funding appeal

Katie Batchelor 13 February 2014

The Museum of Zoology has launched a public funding appeal aiming to raise £3 million in donations. Its launch coincides with Charles Darwin’s 205th birthday on 12 February.

The Museum of Zoology has been closed since June 2013 for a three year long, £18 million refurbishment and development  project. This is part of a wider plan that is in progress for the entire Arup Building, the home of the Museum of Zoology. The Museum of Zoology’s collection consists of four million specimens, all of which are in the process of being packed away for  storage. These include dodos, skins of the extinct Tasmanian tiger and examples of Galapagos finches and insects brought  back on The Beagle by Darwin.

The aim of the renovation project is to create new exhibition galleries to display these specimens better, as well as new storage for their collections.

The Cambridge Student was invited to photograph a selection of the museum’s specimens before they are packed away for two  years as the building undergoes refurbishment. We spoke to Kay Smith, Project Manager, who expressed excitement over  “developing a completely new way to display [the] collection… In the future it’s going to be more about the story behind the specimen: what it is, why it’s here.” 

She further stated that it will make the museum more “user-friendly”. Additionally, this will allow for an improved educational  programme for both the public and the students of the University, with which it is especially linked through the ‘Evolution and Behaviour’ and ‘Zoology’ papers of the Natural Sciences tripos.

Ed Tidball, a Bio NatSci at Trinity Hall, told TCS: “The refurbishment is very exciting…it will be a good resource for future generations of students.”

This is not the only museum in Cambridge in need of funding. The Polar Museum is currently trying to raise £275,000 by 2  March to prevent photographs from Captain Scott’s expedition being sold abroad at auction.